Tuesday, 1 February 2011

1st February - Ice Moon, Imbolc, St Brigit's Day, Death of a Dairy Cow

Yesterday was bitterly cold with a very hard frost, today it is warm & damp, but the sun is shining; a good start to February.
One of the old names for the month of February was Snow or Ice Moon; are we going to be having more cold weather with sparkling frosty mornings?
The 1st February is Bride's Day or Imbolc in the ancient Celtic calendar and this then with the arrival of Christianity became St. Brigit's Day though the celebration was later moved to 2nd February, Candlemas Day dedicated to the Virgin Mary which was marked by candlelit processions.
A Scottish proverb; 
'If Candlemas is bright and clear,
there'll be two winters in the year.'

Imbolc may refer to the first milk of the year as the ewes give birth to their lambs.

An Irish blessing;
May you be under Brigit's mantle!'

Brigit's Day was traditionally a time of purification and house cleaning!  Also the time to burn any Christmas greenery that lingers.

February has also been known as the Wolf month or Faoilleach in Gaelic and 'a marbh mhios' the dead month. Despite the it being cold & dreary the signs of spring are are beginning to appear.
Our neighbour has his first lambs and snowdrops are showing their silvery shoots through the grass in the orchard.

Yesterday the Farmer had the sad & unpleasant business of having to despatch one of our oldest cows. She was one of our first pedigree Ayrshires, born in 1996 and had reached a good age for hard-working dairy cow. She had been getting weaker by the day and had been badly bullied by the rest the rest of the herd, as is the natural order of things. The Farmer & Elder Son had done what they could for her over the past week or so but a decision had to be made. Because she was a 'downer' we were not able to send her to market which would have been a real cruelty anyway, nor could she be loaded onto a lorry to go to the abattoir. So a quick end was brought about with a rifle and we paid to have her taken away in the knacker lorry to be incinerated up near Liverpool. A wasteful end to a useful life. The whole carcase is incinerated which is such a waste . Why can't the skin be removed for tanning and the meat go into dog food as it always used to be? I'm sure the politicians and the scientists have come up with good reasons why not, but it still seems the most terrible waste.

On a more cheerful note the work on the cottage bathroom is almost completed and it is looking really good, I'm very pleased with it.

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